A consortium of public health and civil society organizations hailed the Zambia government's decision to increase tobacco and alcohol taxes to promote healthy lifestyle in the Southern African country.
Price increase is the most effective way to control the consumptions of tobacco and alcohol, especially among the vulnerable groups such as youth, pregnant women and low-income smokers and drinkers, said Fastone Goma, chairman of the Zambia Tobacco Control Consortium.
The organization is confident that lawmakers will approve the tax measure in the interest of both public health and social stability, he said, urging the lawmakers to resist attempts to frustrate the move.
Minister of Health Chitalu Chilufya announced that the government will introduce "sin tax" in next year's budget for goods and products harmful to human health such as tobacco, alcohol and junk foods. A first-ever survey conducted in Zambia on tobacco users by the Heart and Stroke Foundation in 2012 revealed that tobacco products were highly affordable in the southern African nation and that the price was too low to motivate smokers to quit. The World Health Organization recommended a 75-percent tax in the retail price of cigarettes, while Zambia pegged the tax rate at 30 percent.